Disclaimer: The story I am about to tell you is a single story. And you know how dangerous that is.
Everyone was shocked when I announced on Facebook that I was in a relationship. My dad was texting me how he felt betrayed because he had to know about my new boyfriend at the same time as my mom; divorced parents tend to have this weird competition with each other. My sister was a little mad because she thought he was not good enough for me; she changed her mind when she received “Kirkland Signature All Chocolate Mix” in the mail a week later. But everyone else, I mean everyone, was shocked. Shocked because I was in relationship with this Mongolian guy, an international student on a visa. They were shocked because I had just blocked my way to American passport and American dream.
Three of my four high school friends who went to US for college are in relationship with American passport holders. Yes, their boyfriends are all white, but race is not what I want to talk about here. I think, or I want to think, that my friends are not going out with them only because of the possibility that they would end up with a green card if things go right. But it sure was a big factor. They grew up in a country where you can’t see your own hand because of the air pollution in the winter, where you can’t smell your perfume because of the reek from sewage plants in the summer, where you just cannot get promoted or even get a job without kissing someone’s @ss or prostituting yourself. And to think that Mongolia is not the worst place in the world, I don’t blame these people who see American people as golden tickets to the U.S. Not that the U.S does not have its own problems, but it is sure a ‘better place” for a lot of people.
For me, I simply did not have the emotional strength to feel foreign for the rest of my life. I wanted to learn whatever I could, as fast as I could, and go back home. I had faith in myself that I could help make my country a better place. Then, America intimidated me. I felt like I needed a trillion dollars to build highways, proper infrastructure, renewables, businesses and the list goes on and on and on. “There is no way I can help Mongolia, so it's just better to help myself and find a way to stay here,” I thought. But then again, I did not want to get absorbed so I came here to India.
People in Bangalore are dealing with the same problems, on even a larger scale, except for the air pollution. But they are willing to fight. People are painting the streets, building sustainable housing, recharging bore wells, implementing rainwater harvesting systems, and educating the young for a brighter future. People are doing whatever they can. All these wonderful people I have met in the last 4 weeks have given me the strength and confidence to face my problems instead of covering my eyes and wishing these problems would just go away.